Thursday, July 31, 2008

Farewell, "Old Paint"

I sold and said goodbye to a piece of machinery yesterday. I normally do not get attached to such things and I usually scoff at those who do; who name their cars, who think that their vehicles, appliances or tools have personality traits or develop attachments to inanimate objects. I likely do this to prevent myself from taking it personally when a device or machine behaves poorly or refuses to work at all. I know that a piece of machinery does not care what kind of day I've had, how much of a hurry I'm in or what my mood is so I try not to get too involved in trying to decipher the whims of a hundred moving parts at any given moment.
So forgive me now as I wax melancholy, because I am sad to let this particular machine leave my life.
I've been riding motorcycles pretty much all my life, but until I bought this KLR650 I didn't really have a 'relationship' with a bike. Prior to this particular bike I raced, I diced along the roadways, I climbed hills and cruised highways all on board two-wheeled conveyances that were tons of fun, fuel efficient, and occasionally adrenaline generating.

Farewell KLR

But until I decided on a purpose-driven purchase, I hadn't really come to grips with buying a machine that I would customize, plan around, and test for a particular mission. This purchase came after much soul-searching, re-searching, surfing, dialog, and eventually hunting to find the right one. Planning for the ultimate-mid-life-crisis-adventure-motorcycle ride was a big deal in so many respects and determining the right motorcycle was both daunting and rewarding.

This bike filled the bill with all the check-boxes filled and it ended up being exactly the right machine for me and my big plans. By the time it was all said and done I had ridden a little over 5,500 miles in one trip, and pushed every limit the bike had; both highway and off-road, just to have the bike reward me with a "sure, we can do that" response. We've been cold and hot, wet and muddy and arid, to 12,000+ feet and to sea level and covered miles of pavement and rocks, and sand and mud and fields without so much as a single bauble of complaint.

I had fun ... I grew to expect and depend on a reliable and exhilarating ride, and I grew to love the machine.

Sheesh .. I'll miss it.

Thanks for you're understanding :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Getting Hitched

Today we drove the new truck, now lovingly referred to as "Fordzilla" up to the RV dealer to have the sliding hitch installed. IT was a quick and painless installation and we absoultely love the idea that in only 3 minutes we can have the hitch back out and use the whole bed of the truck again.
The good side is that the hitch is readily removable, and the bad side is the same thing. We are discussing ways to make it a litle less easy to steal it, and I'm sure we'll come up with a simple, elegant, and inexpensive solution soon.

We toured the 5th wheel again this morning, with all the sliders put in this time. This is the first time we seen the interior all closed up and ready for transport. It is very cool how it all fits together, and amazing to see how tight things are when it is closed up. There is virtually no living space available with the sliders in, but they thoughtfully left full acces to the bathroom and even the refrigerator. What more could you ask for when travelling across the country than to be able to pull over for a rest stop and get the head and the fridge :). We are hoping that the dealer will have the unit (called a 'coach') into the shop and made ready for delivery to us in just another week or two. We're really not sure how the timing will all work out, or whether we are really ready to take delivery just yet, but when it's ready we'll likely take it and do some shake-down trips on our weekends. As with any new vehicle, and RVs inparticular, there will undoubtedy be some squawks to turn into the dealer and we spend some time aboard. This situation allows us to try it out for several weeks, and have anything that's not perfect fixed up locally before we go cross-country. Thankfully we've purchased a major brand (Keystone Montana) and there are numerous dealers and facilities along the way that we can go to should we need anything along the way. Yahoo!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Another Beautiful Day

High in the 90's today, clear blue skies, light breeze and a view of the mountains.
I have tor remember all this stuff as we prepare to head to the east coast. Watching the weather reports and RADAR maps for Florida has been .. interesting .. It just doesn't cool off there at night, so I can see why the big city doesn't really come to life till 10:00 P.M. on a regular basis.
Well, that'll probably fit our lifestyle OK, as we will be hiding out in an RV park somewhere, and only sojourn into the metropolis on our weekends. Besides, there are tons of beaches to discover and explore and a whole new part of the world called the Everglades to have a look at.
Tomorrow I'll be sleeping most of the morning and noon-time away, recovering from this stay-up-all-night and work thing we do around here. After that I'll likely poke around and continue trying to set up a wireless network in the house using only the cell phones as modems and connecting the computers through them via BlueTooth to hit the Internet. It'll likely be much slower than DSL, but for the price we wil be happy. It will also serve us to learn how to do this since these RV parks don't normally sport WiFi and we're not ready to hook up satellite TV/Internet yet (at $1,200 for an antenna, it may be quite some time! :) ) Using the cell phones' data plan should allow us to get on the internet pretty much anywhere there's digital coverage, and with Verizon it's quite a good coverage map.

Then I'll finish the projects on the KLR650 and deliver it to its new owner (sniff). I will be very sad to let go of this machine, but it's necessary to sell it both for the liquidity and the storage space problem while travelling and when we arrive in Miami. It's been an excellent machine, transporting me to the top of Alaska and climbing some amazing slick-rock in Moab. I hope it serves its new owner as well as it has me.
The list of "SOLD" items continues to grow, and it won't be too terribly long until we will be trying to pare down the last few things so we can move aboard the fifth wheel.
What an exciting week it has been!

Friday, July 25, 2008


The new home has arrived! We got to go do a short tour of the new 5th Wheel a couple of days ago. It just arrived from the factory and is beautiful in every respect. We did our walkthrough and gave hem our first little squawk list. We'd asked for them to ~not~ install a TV in the bedroom, but they did anyway so the local service folks will uninstall it and give us a storage closet instead. We'd also ordered this unit with a convection-microwave, and it came with a standard microwave installed so they'll make good on that.
We made an appointment to get the hitch installed in the truck on Monday, and since we'll be there in the morning we can spend some more time fine-tooth-combing the new dwelling and see if we can start figuring out how we're going to move in and live there in the near future. It's exciting beyond measure, and it drives into sharp focus the fact that our planning is starting to become reality.

We've been showing the house about 2 or 3 times a week, and we're very hopeful that it will sell soon, before we have to beging making too many payments for the new wheels, RV, and moving expenses. Your prayers would be coveted toward that end.

On another note, I went down to get license plates for the truck and got my dose of sticker-shock; to the tune of nearly a grand... I thought for a while that it might be less expensive to just not register the thing and see how much it'd cost to pay for the tickets we might get :) but decided against it. And... since the truck is less than six months away from purchase, it would fall under a 6% sales tax hit if I tried to register it directly in Florida. So, we'll just make sure we're all legal and above board and play by the rules.

Now, I gotta go get a nap before the mid-shift tonight. :(

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Not yet at walking speed...

Things are still happening very fast around here.

Although we ~still~ have yet to receive a firm departure date that might be earlier than the initial January 4th agreement, Robin and I are still working under the assumption that we will be leaving Longmont sometime around the end of October. This serves a couple of ends for us; if we end up not departing until the first of the year (2009) we will be well ahead of the preparations game and when we find we have nothing to do it'll be a welcome breather, and conversely, if we get notified that we need to pack up and hit the road as soon as possible we've at least made the strides we have made toward that departure. Everything we can get done now is one less stressor should we be suddenly put on a short deadline.
I'm glad things are going along the way they are, I just could use a few days off :)
Last week I traveled to the great northwest. The truck and trailer were loaded to the hilt with motorcycles, furniture, computers, musical instruments and assorted housewares to accomplish all the goals of this trip. Along with visiting my ailing ex-mother-in-law, (in case you need reminding, she is a dear, sweet lady who is battling cancer of multiple fronts) I had the great priviledge of visiting with my elder daugher and her family in Coeur D'Alene, ID and dropping off some cool hand-me-down goodies for them to use. I then traveled to Spokane and spent time with my side fo the family (brothers, uncle and aunt and cousins and, of course, my mom!) I dropped off a motorcycle there for my nephew and he just went bonkers, hoppig on to it and riding away within seconds of the bike hitting the ground off the loading ramp. Ride well, Jason!

After a great evening get-together, I got a nap and headed out to Tacome to see my younger daughter and drop off some furniture. We are very glad she likes it and hope she'll hand it down to the next generation someday.
All went well on this big trip. I had stuff to deliver to 4 folks, I traveled over 1,300 miles and safely delivered stuff to four stops. I did hurt my back pushing that big ole furniture around, and it still is sore, but it'll get better in just a few more days.
I can tell, however, that I have aged just a bit since the 'old days' :)


We've been working on establishing residency in Florida over the last few days. The idea came to me when I found out how much it's going to cost to register the truck here in Colorado. I just can't see bucking out nearly a grand for only two or three months of licensing priveledges and then turning around and doing it again in only 3 or 4 more months when we arrive in Florida.
So.. we're filling out tons of paperwork and trying to establish an address and get registered to vote, set up a P. O. box, get the title and registration for both the truck and RV set up for Florida and see if we can juggle all the other stuff that's happening. Hopefully we can accomplish a lot with Notary Publics, Postal officials, and the U.S. mail service, but if we end up having to go there and take care of some of this personally, I guess that wouldn't hurt too awful badl :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Travel Time

The game is afoot!.
It's time to put some more of our plans into effect. This time it will involve the real McCoy of downsizing, and we're going to be left looking at a much leaner living environment after this upcoming week.
I'll be loading a U-Haul trailer and heading to Idaho and Washington this next week with a load of motorcycles, tool, and furniture to deliver to daughters, brothers, and friends. It was a long, fretful planning event trying to figure out how to get this stuff all moved across country to get it to the people we wanted to see have it, and it was looking like it wasn't even a reasonable proposition financially, but God provided a way (He's good about that sometimes) and now it's going to happen relatively painlessly for us.
Renting a U-Haul truck was going to be a $1,500 proposition, plus airfare home... Hauling a trailer with my own truck was going to be .. umm about a $1,500 proposition, and involve well over 2,500 driving miles (diesel being upwards of $4.75 a gallon out on the highway now).
So while I was whining about ..ermm .. I mean discussing the situation with some of my co-workers, a fellow controller named Matt told me that he had a real need to get his motorcycle and his own truck moved up to Seattle and it'd be perfect if I drove his truck and left it up there for him. He then offered to pay the fuel for the trip in return for my time at the wheel. So, problem solved! I'll drive his truck, pull a trailer, and haul all of our stuff to Couer D'Alene, then Spokane, and finally Tacoma and Seattle for drop-off. Quite the delivery run! I'm looking forward to hooking back up with family and meeting some new friends in the process.

On a sad note, my ex-mother-in-law (Mary Anne) is another primary reason for this trip's timing. She was recently diagnosed with aggressve and widespread cancer and is undergoing tough treatment but they are not planning on letting her come home from the hospital very soon. So, I'll ask for your prayers and support for a dear, dear lady and hope that it's OK for me to soap-box one time about the very real prospect that cigarettes cause this kind of ugly and painful mess. Please quit if you're smoking.


Stuff is stillf or sale on the website, and Iseem to be finding more and more stuff which can end up there. Pretty soon I'll have my own private 'Gary's List" going (grin).
We'll be thinned out pretty radically here in just a couple of weeks. The plan is still to 'evict' the renters at my old house, move in over there and get to painting and prepping to put it on the market asap. This house here has had several lookers, but no offers yet. I can only imagine that in this tough market, patience is gong to be paramount.